Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Pushing Hands (movie)
- Pushing hands is also a training routine practiced in T'ai Chi Ch'uan (Taijiquan) and a few other Chinese martial arts
The story is about an elderly Chinese T'ai Chi Ch'uan teacher and grandfather (played by Sihung Lung) who emigrates from China to live with his son, his American daughter-in-law and his grandson in a New York City suburb. The grandfather is increasingly distanced from the family as he is a "fish out of water" in Western culture and he does not care to participate in the materialistic life style prevalent in the West. The film shows the contrast between traditional Chinese ideas of Confucian relationships within a family and the much more informal Western emphasis on the individual. The friction in the family caused by these differing expectations eventually leads to the grandfather moving out of the family home (something very alien to traditional expectations), and in the process he learns lessons (some comical, some poignant) about how he must adapt to his new surroundings before he comes to terms with his new life.
The title of the film refers to the pushing hands training that is part of the grandfather's T'ai Chi routine. Pushing hands is a two person training which teaches T'ai Chi students to yield in the face of brute force. T'ai Chi Ch'uan teachers were persecuted in China during the Cultural Revolution, and his family was broken up as a result. The grandfather sent his son to the West several years earlier and when he could he came to live with his family with the expectation of picking up where they left off, but he was unprepared for the very different atmosphere of the West. "Pushing Hands" thereby alludes to the process of adaptation to culture shock felt by a traditional teacher in moving to the United States.
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